JGC, INPEX and BASF have entered into an agreement to carry out joint demonstration tests on a new technology for effectively capturing and recovering CO2 contained in natural gas. The tests will be carried out at INPEX’s Koshijihara natural gas plant (Nagaoka city, Niigata prefecture) starting August 2010. A

Natural gas often contains CO2 when it is extracted from the well. Whether the natural gas is transported via pipelines, converted to liquefied natural gas (LNG) or used in chemical processes, the CO2 has to be captured beforehand. Even state-of-the-art CO2 capture processes require a large amount of energy and the removal facilities account for a major part of investment and operating costs.

JGC and BASF jointly began developing a new technology for a CO2 capture process called High Pressure Acid Gas Capture Technology (HiPACT) in 2004. Following basic research and a series of trials, the new technology enables high-pressure CO2 recovery by regenerating the solvent at high pressure and temperature. The newly developed absorption solvent is highly stable at high temperature regeneration condition, and delivers superior CO2 absorption performance and low corrosivity. An important milestone in this development is transferring the new technology to an operating gas processing facility.

The advantage of HiPACT technology is twofold, the partners say:

  1. It reduces the overall power consumption of the facility and lowers investment costs.
  2. Because the CO2 is released from the solvent at well above atmospheric pressure there is a significant reduction in the amount of energy required if CO2 is used in high pressure applications such as chemical synthesis or sequestered underground.

Going forward with information from the test results, JGC and BASF will focus on the commercialization of HiPACT technology in all relevant sectors, for example in natural gas projects with CO2 reinjection. INPEX will aim at further energy savings at its natural gas plants by using the HiPACT technology.

Application of the technology in gasification processes is currently under development, according to JGC.